Before he does stand-up

With his days of lighting himself on fire over, gentleman Jackass Steve-O is now making people laugh with actual jokes... and occasionally lighting himself on fire. Before his weekend stand-up stint at the Miami Improv, we talked to him about the Clown College application process, lines of wasabi, and Discovery Zone.

Pontius, Manny, Bam: Bang, marry, kill?
You know, it's funny -- I watched that documentary Grizzly Man last night, it was just really weird. And I just thought the whole time, man, Manny is so much gnarlier than that guy. So, yeah, I don't know what that has to do with anything, but I'll give Manny "marry" for that. Pontius was all about homosexual antics -- he's the one guy whose penis I've kissed -- so I'd have to say I'd bang Pontius. And it's a shame there's only one thing left, so I guess Bam gets killed.
So, you attended Ringling Brothers Clown College. One, that’s incredible, and two, how do you even get into that? Did you get like 6’s on all your APs or something?
I dropped out of the University of Miami, determined to become a stunt man. After about three years of couch surfing, I felt I wasn't making a lot of progress towards this goal. So I really felt if I could graduate from Clown College and I had the name Ringling Brothers to brag about, that this might bring legitimacy to my antics. People would think: oh, this guy's not lighting himself on fire at backyard keg parties because he's an idiot, it's because he's a rad circus professional.
Is there any stunt you wouldn't do? Like, does anything scare you?
Sure. Generally, I make a pretty conscious effort to think through things that will kill or paralyze me.
So you stopped getting all messed up and kinda straightened your life out, at least in that way... does that make it easier or harder to shove bottle rockets up your butt?
It's certainly not any easier when you're clean and sober. But it's so important for me to prove I still can. I don't want anyone to believe that sobriety has turned me into a complete sissy. So I kinda have two goals with my show: I want people to leave thinking my stand-up is funnier than they expected it to be. And that, man, that guy's still crazy.
So how’d you get into stand-up?
It was really kind of random. Back in 2006, someone invited me to come to a comedy club in LA, and get on stage and "do something crazy." I didn't give any thought as to what I would do, then realized: man, there's nothing I could do on that stage that would be crazier than actually trying stand-up. I was blown away, I couldn't believe it -- I got legitimate laughs, and didn't do anything to hurt myself or anything. It seemed like I had accomplished the impossible.
You still lighting yourself on fire at the end of every gig?
It depends. At different shows, I do different stuff. I'm not going to be lighting my head on fire, but I'm prepared to do other stunts… and some may involve fire.
What ever happened to your rap career?
That was just a mark of how truly messed up on drugs I had gotten.
If you could be chased through a Discovery Zone ball pit by any cartoon character, which character would it be?
For some reason, the ThunderCats are the first ones to come to my mind.
What's something you're awesome at that no one would ever guess?
The only thing I've considered myself to be really world-class at is shotgunning beers. I don't think anybody could ever beat me at that, I just had this really uncanny, incredible ability. I really think I may have been the best ever at shotgunning beers. Sadly, I really can't do that anymore. So, too bad.
What was your secret?
I think it was a breathing technique. Or maybe just generations upon generations of drinking too much as far back as anyone knows in my family.
Do you think you'll reach a point where you just can't do this stuff anymore?
Yeah… although I don't like to think about that too much. I think I will always have that in me. That will always be my sense of humor.
Do sushi places hide the wasabi when you come in?
No, I've got this humongous hole in the septum between my nostrils. It would be bad to snort anything I think, especially wasabi. It's off the table.